By PA Sport Staff
Sadio Mane went from villain to hero as he broke club-mate Mohamed Salah’s heart by firing Senegal to Africa Cup of Nations Cup glory for the first time.
Liverpool striker Mane, who had seen his seventh-minute spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Gabaski, nervelessly converted the decisive penalty in a 4-2 shoot-out victory over seven-times winners Egypt at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde after a tense 0-0 draw played out over 120 gruelling minutes.
It was no more than the Lions of Teranga deserved after dominating for long periods, only to be denied repeatedly by Gabaski, but they finally got their chance when Mohamed Abdelmonem blasted his effort from 12 yards against the post and Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy saved from substitute Mohanad Lasheen.
MENDY SAVES! 😳
MANÉ SCORES! 🤩
SENEGAL CELEBRATES! 🥳#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | #SENEGY | #TeamSenegal | @Fsfofficielle pic.twitter.com/G27FWCUxoL
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) February 6, 2022
Mane’s evening got off to a very different start when, after Saliou Ciss has been tripped inside the box by Abdelmonem, he went head-to-head with Gabaski from the spot. The frontman opted for power but the Egypt keeper dived to his right to beat his attempt away.
Senegal dominated the early exchanges without managing to make the pressure tell, and they were served with a timely reminder of the threat posed by Salah when he embarked upon a mazy 28th-minute run only to scuff his shot at Mendy.
However, Aliou Cisse’s men continued to dominate with Gabaski’s goal coming under increasing pressure as the second half got under way.
𝗛𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿. 🇸🇳
Congratulations, Sadio 👏 pic.twitter.com/HvZr6e9Qow
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 6, 2022
Substitute Marwan Hamdy might have won it when he glanced a 75th-minute header across the face of goal as Mendy dithered and Senegal substitute Bamba Dieng volleyed high over at the other end as time ran down, but extra time was required.
Gabaski denied Dieng seconds into the added period and then repelled his downward header and a viciously-swerving piledriver to preserve Egypt’s hopes, but it was opposite number Mendy who had to be at his best to keep out Hamdy’s blistering 116th-minute strike and then came out on top in the shoot-out.